Solidarity is at the core of VIERNULVIER’s values. This value speaks not only to our history and programme, but also to our daily actions. Solidarity is expressed in the people of the majority listening to the experiences of people in the minority and working together to create spaces that are inclusive and equitable for all.  For us to live by our values, we understand that stronger anti-discrimination policies are necessary.

  1. Within the cultural sector and at VIERNULVIER, discrimination and racism are present and pervasive. Although we have had policies to support and protect workers, artists and audiences for years, these occurrences are too frequent and we are alert to the many blind spots for (structural) racism at our company. As a result, we understand our work in this area as inadequate, our structure as inaccessible. 

  2. We are aware that VIERNULVIER's team does not sufficiently represent the diversity of society. Our internal work processes are still too often aligned with mainstream, white, ableist and neurotypical normativity.  This has led to an environment in which colleagues, past and present, have been hurt and are being hurt.  Although VIERNULVIER is a responsible employer with an active integrity policy, proper care and attention is still sometimes lacking, and the translation of the policy into action is still lacking.

  3. Further developing a decisive and layered action plan around discrimination (racism, sexism, ableism etc) is a necessary step to bring about actual change. This is what we are working on right now with a group of 15 committed participants from staff, board and the young panel.  

  4. We are joined by experts and critical friends. We cannot and will not move forward alone. Without shirking our responsibility, we see an entire sector struggling to cope with a heightened awareness of inequalities that exist in our society and the actions required to address them. Our problems are systemic.
    It is essential that we share our steps on our journey with the artists we work with and with our artistic and social partner organisations in Ghent, in Flanders and internationally through our strong network of colleagues through European projects such as the Cultural Transformation Project Movement. Through collaboration and partnership, we can be held accountable. 

  5. This work has been going on for some time and is gaining momentum. In the coming months, we will work on delivering the following work packages: 

    • an external audit into the experiences of people of colour who work and have worked with us, 

    • a training programme for our entire team, our board and our young panel on racism, power and privilege,

    • a recruitment policy that is actively anti-racist as well as coaching and peer support for people of colour working in a predominantly white environment, to ensure safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

    • an incident recording system around any workplace discrimination promoting 'accountability'

    This is a non-exhaustive list, building on the foundations of an artistic programme and HR policy rooted in solidarity and respect. 

  6. We will undoubtedly continue to make mistakes, but we aim for transparency when we do so. Every year, VIERNULVIER reports on the steps we take in an annual report. This report is posted on our site in Dutch and English and distributed in print to our stakeholders, funders and the Flemish arts sector.

  7. This statement is made with the vulnerability of sharing actions that are not yet complete and that can and should be challenged. We welcome dialogue on this topic, particularly with artists and arts workers with lived experience of racism. You can get in touch with general coordinator or artistic coordinator if you would like to talk about what we are doing to address racism and discrimination in our house, with the commitment to change our working culture for the better.